Let me introduce you to one of my largest pet peeves: The feeling that just because I’m eating a food from a certain culture or country that I somehow need to be served the crappy industrial lager of that country.

Chinese food? Tsingtao. Japanese food? Sapporo. Mexican food? Corona. Italian food? Birra Moretti. Indian food? Kingfisher.

Not to mention Lion Lager, Castle Lager, Aguila, Tiger, Singha, Kirin, Sol, Dos Equis, Tusker, Orion, Red Stripe, Jinlan, Peroni, Carib, Tecate, Modelo, Pacifico, Taj Mahal, San Miguel, Presidente, Brahma, Saigon, Chang, Saku, Bali Hai, and on and on and on.

That’s just a few – a very, very, very few – of the hundreds of brands of light industrial lager made ’round the world, branded specifically for the country that they’re being sold in, and then served to me in a restaurant under the auspices that this will somehow go well with the food because the name sounds right.

Can we stop this, please? It’s sad and embarrassing. Pair by flavor, not by name. It suggests that the beer is a decoration rather than a beverage.

Let me tell you why my favorite sushi restaurant is my favorite:

Is it the best sushi around? It’s good, but not the best.

Is it the always-on buy-one-get-one-free special? Eh, nice, but an excuse to overcharge.

Is it the fact that have the most authentic decor? Not even remotely.

Is it the swarthy staff of Latinos assuming that most Americans won’t be able to tell the difference between South American and South Asian? Well. That is pretty amusing.

Is it because of the flavorful range of sakes? Close, but no cigar.

It is because I can get craft beer there that actually goes well with the sushi. I can get good sushi with good beer. Not great sushi with shitty beer. Not shitty sushi with great beer. But good sushi with good beer. Is that too much to ask?

Would it be so hard for a Mexican restaurant carry an IPA? The food is practically made for it.

I don’t want to suggest that there are no well-made international lagers. There are, and they have their place in cuisine and fine drinking. But the majority – the vast majority – of “international” beers out there are nothing more than the same old crap you get everywhere else: watered down, DMS-y, over-carbonated, light lager. What’s worse? They’re all made by the same 3 companies and just marketed differently. I would be shocked to find out that there are anything but superficial differences in the recipes.

So, come on restaurants, let’s cut the crap. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and guess that you’re in business because you think the food you serve tastes good. So why would you serve something less than excellent as a beverage to go with your cuisine? You can put the crappy international lager on the menu if it makes you feel more authentic, but support your local brewery and save a spot in your cooler for some actual good, flavorful beer that compliments your food. Your diners will thank you.

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Categories: beer-food pairing, industry, marketing
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 03 Aug 2010 @ 08 37 AM

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